Today in Music History
A Daily Look at Music History For Violin Students
A Look at What Happened on Today's Date
Long, Long Ago . . . Or Maybe Just Last Year
December 26
1687 - Birth of German composer and violinist Johann Georg Pisendel in Cadolzburg.

1770 - Premiere of Mozart's opera Mitridate, composed at age 14.

1772 - Premiere of Mozart's opera Lucio Silla, composed at age 16.

1871 - Premiere of first Gilbert and Sullivan opera, Thespis, or The Gods Grown Old, at the Gaiety Theatre, London.

1926 - Premiere of Sibelius' Tapiola tone poem. NY Sym Society, Walter Damrosch, conducting.

1931 - George Gershwin’s musical, "Of Thee I Sing," opened at the Music Box Theatre in New York City. It became the first American musical to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize.

1939 - W.C. Handy recorded the classic "St. Louis Blues."

1941 - Premiere of Robert Russell Bennett's Violin Concerto, NBC Symphony broadcast.

1963 - Capitol Records released the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand" backed with "I Saw Her Standing There."
Can You Guess?
You've probably read of Gilbert and Sullivan's Thespis, below.  The music was lost except for a chorus that was used in a later production.  Can You Guess what play contains that chorus from Thespis?

Look at the Bottom of the Page for the Answer.
What Else
Hugh Cecil Bean died December 26, 2002.

He was born in Beckenham, Kent, in England on September 22, 1929. His father, a marine engineer, was also an amateur fiddler, and Bean began to learn the violin from his father when he was just five years old.   Bean later recalled that he found the mechanical and technical side of the fingerwork and bowing fascinating.
Bean showed promise early.  His father tracked down Albert Sammons, one of the most distinguished English violinists of the 1930s, and persuaded him to listen to his son. When the Beans arrived for an audition, Sammons opened the door with his mouth full of jam sandwich, and welcomed the nine-year-old Hugh as though he were family. He took Bean on as a student, and remained his primary teacher for almost 20 years, through Bean's studies at the Royal College of Music, until Sammons's death in 1957.

Bean also studied for a year (1952-53) with André Gertler at the Brussels Conservatory, where he won two first prizes, one for solo work and one for chamber music.

Bean was a member of the Boise Trio (later to become the Music Group of London) with David Parkhouse and Eileen Croxford.

Bean was the first National Serviceman to serve with the Grenadier Guards (1949-51).  Due to his violin strings, Bean became known as "the Cat Gut Grenadier."

In 1957 Bean became leader of the Philharmonia Orchestra.  He stayed in that position for ten years, leaving to join the BBC Symphony Orchestra for two years with Eli Goren, then briefly led the London Symphony Orchestra.  Upon leaving the London Symphony Orchestra he had a solo career, and returned to the Philharmonia in 1990. The orchestra appointed him leader emeritus in 1994.

A veteran of more than 90 overseas tours with the Philharmonia, Bean developed a keen sense of survival, and like every musician had his share of mishaps. Once he began a Bach concerto with such a enthusiasm that his bow sailed out into the audience. Bean leapt from the stage, retrieved the bow and clambered back up, to begin anew.
Hugh Bean
Hugh Bean Conducts Song of Norway
Hugh Bean Conducts
Song of Norway
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Did You Guess?
The chorus Climbing Over Rocky Mountain was reused in
The Pirates of Penzance.

Did You See the C
olor Clues?
Bean's interest in education was immense. Bean  re-published Sammons's original books of bowing exercises, adding his own comments about the remarks Sammons made during their lessons more than 50 years ago.   Bean always revered Sammons, stating that he had the ability to explain even the most technical aspect of playing in the simplest possible terms.  Bean was also a teacher of renown. During his 37 years as Professor of Violin at the Royal College of Music, more than 50 of his students found positions in London orchestras - many as leaders or front desk players.

His final concert was a performance of Bach's Double Concerto with his student Jonathan Josephs, in memory of another former student.

Away from his busy life in music, Bean built model aircraft, and was also deeply interested in model railways - but only the steam-driven variety. He  had a 4.5 in gauge railway in his the garden. It could hold two adults, and was hauled by a replica Duchess of Buccleuch locomotive. Bean was the engine driver, complete with engineer's hat.